Pan·American The River Made No Sound

In a time when electronic music is becoming more and homogenised, Pan•American (the rhythmic ambient alter-ego extension of Labradford's Mark K. Nelson) takes a completely different route. Unlike his previous two albums, The River Made No Sound is less "busy" on the surface, devoid of constraining structures that lend to listening fatigue, thus yielding much more depth over shorter lengths. "There's less repetition, maybe," Nelson explains. "There's [been] a real effort to keep things moving forward, less circular and more directed, if you will. I also tried to have more 'live' elements, more playing and less sequencing, more live mixing and effect manipulating and less programming, those kinds of changes." As a result, the album's deceptively minimalist, cirrostratus-like sounds and feels are an incredibly feat in electronic biology. "I wanted to have a couple different identifiable piano voices on this record, for example," continues Nelson. "I think that helps in the organic sweepstakes, but I also like very processed sounds, even drone-y synth pads have their place, if applied honestly. This record is much more confident than the last, and that's really the factor that makes it more fluid and organic." When asked what the core/base stimulus to each piece is, he reveals that he keeps it somewhat progressively susceptible to spontaneity. "There's usually one sound that comes first - it can be either a rhythmic, textural or melodic element - and that sets the stage for everything else. I spend a lot of time just playing around with sounds undirected. When I hit on something that I find compelling, the rest of the track follows from that. Sometimes, though, it happens that the original sound/inspiration disappears along the way. I try to make it a process of instinct as much as possible. It's meant to give people pleasure, and maybe a space for introspection or relaxation. It's 'listening music,' I guess." (Kranky)